Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mushroom Soup


Summer school holidays kicks in today. Everyone at home is still fast asleep except yours truly. Woke up early, made myself a cup of coffee and snuggled into my living sofa to enjoy the Wimbledon ladies' semi-finals. A lot of grunting, struggles, and double faults from Sharapova on the TV. Although we are officially well into summer now, the wet and cool spring weather is still lingering around. The cool weather had me thinking of making a hot soup for lunch, and so, I decided on this light and earthy Mushroom Soup. I used some dried Porcini mushrooms (for its nutty and earthiness flavors) and a couple of other varieties of fresh mushrooms. There’s no cream in the soup, the creaminess of the soup came from the potatoes. It's a delicious soup, light and yet comforting. Back to Wimbledon, I was ecstatic Sharapova won. She is one of my favorite players is the WTA circuit and I am glad she's in the final this weekend. Her victory certainly made my day and it put me in the right mood to take my kids out for some retail therapy followed with a nice dinner to celebrate their summer break.


Mushroom Soup

Ingredients

20 g Dried Porcini Mushrooms
2 Cups Boiling Water
600 g Mixed Fresh Mushrooms, (Cremini, shitake, chanterelle or button mushroom) cleaned and sliced
2 Cloves Garlic, peeled and chopped

1 White Onion, peeled and diced

3 (about 330 g) Yellow Wax Potatoes, peeled and finely diced
Fresh Thyme (small handful)
Fresh Italian Flat Leaf Parsley (small handful)
2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

2 ½ Cups Chicken or Vegetable Stock

Sea Salt

Freshly Ground Black Pepper



Method


Soak dried mushrooms with 2 cups of boiling water for about 15 minutes. Pick out the soaked mushrooms, and reserved the liquid.


Heat the olive oil and butter in a large pot; add garlic and onions with a pinch of salt. Cook the mixture until soft and translucent but not brown in color. Then turn the heat on high and toss in all the mushrooms, thyme, and parsley. Cook for a minute or 2, season with some salt and pepper. Mix in the finely diced potatoes, reserved liquid, and chicken or vegetable stock. 



Bring it to the boil and simmer for about 20 to 25 minutes. Allow the soup to cool slightly before you puree it with a handheld blender. Bring the soup back to the boil and season with some salt and pepper. Serve warm.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Goan Prawn Curry


Recipe adapted from At Home With Madhur Jaffrey

Goan Prawn Curry

Ingredients

1 lb Large Prawns, peeled and deveined
2 Tbsp Canola Oil
2 Medium Shallots, peeled and finely chopped
½ to 1 tsp Ground Cayenne Pepper
2 tsp Ground Paprika
½ tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
¼ tsp Ground Turmeric
1 Can (400 ml) Coconut Milk
½ tsp Sea Salt, or to taste
2 tsp Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice, or to taste

Method

Heat the oil in a heavy pot and set over medium high heat. When hot, put in the shallots. Cook until the shallots are light brown in color. Then add the cayenne pepper, paprika, black pepper, and turmeric. Cook briefly until they are fragrant.


Add the coconut milk and bring the curry sauce to a boil. Turn the heat to low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring every now and then.

Then, add the prawns, sea salt, and lemon juice. Stir and cook on low heat until the prawns just turn opaque. Season the curry with sea salt and lemon juice, if necessary. Serve the curry warm with steamed Basmati rice.


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Raw Energy Bars~Apricot Delight


Raw Energy Bars~Apricot Delight

Ingredients

1 Cup (150g) Apricot, finely chopped
1 Cup (150 to 180g) Moist Persian or Medjool Dates, pitted and finely chopped

1 Cup (140g) Raw Cashew Nuts
1 Cup (140g) Raw Pistachio

½ Cup (60g) Raw Almond (without skin)
2 Tbsp Hemp Seeds

A Pinch Of Sea Salt

1 ¼ Cup (100g) Unsweetened Shredded Coconuts

2 Tbsp Vanilla Extract

1 - 2 Tbsp Cold Water



Equipment: Food Processor
11 ½ x 4 ½ inches (29 x 12 cm) Loaf pan, lined with aluminum foil



Method


Combine cashew, pistachio, almond, and hemp seeds in a food processor and process until the nuts and seeds are finely ground.

Then add chopped apricot, dates, and a pinch of sea salt, pulse and process all the ingredients together until the texture is coarse. Then add the shredded coconut, a quick pulse, and add the vanilla extract, a little water at a time until it reaches a dry but moist dough consistency. Scrape the dough mixture into the lined pan, press evenly with a rubber spatula, and chill for about an hour before serving.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Homemade Bacon Jam


Recently, Food Network's Eat St. program showcased the famous Seattle WA Skillet Street Food's gourmet burger and homemade bacon jam. Yes. You read it correct, homemade bacon jam! I thought the bacon jam was just going to be a fat, greasy spread! Anyway, I looked it up on the internet and found two interesting recipes. The first one is from Not Quite Nigella, and the other is from Homesick Texan. I opted to try the latter recipe because it had one of my favorite ingredients, Chipotle pepper. Using some applewood smoked bacon, I tried out the recipe and it turned out way beyond my expectations! This smoky Homemade Bacon Jam was fantastic. Just the right spiciness, a little sweet and tangy, and each bite's loaded with bits of bacon treat! Try it, I bet you will like it too!


Homemade Bacon Jam

Ingredients

500g Applewood Smoked Bacon (thick-cut), sliced into quarters
4 Cloves Garlic, peeled and chopped
1 Medium Brown Onion, peeled and diced
1 Medium Red Onion, peeled and diced
3-4 Chipotles en Adobo, chopped
2 tsp Adobo Sauce from the can
½ tsp Smoked Paprika
3 Tbsp Brown Sugar or Coconut Sugar
1 Cup Brewed Coffee
¼ Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
¼ Cup Maple Syrup
Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Method

In a large saucepan, cook the bacon until the fat is rendered, but not too crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon, and set aside. Pour the rendered bacon fat in a bowl for another use.

Meanwhile, heat the saucepan over medium heat with one tablespoon of the reserved rendered bacon fat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the mixture is sticky and slightly caramelized. Then, add the Chipotle, cooked bacon, smoked paprika, brown sugar, and give a good stir. Mix in the coffee, vinegar, maple syrup, and some freshly ground black pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for about two hours, stirring occasionally. If the jam starts to get dry, add a couple of tablespoon of water at a time.

Allow the bacon mixture to cool slightly before you puree it with a handheld blender to the desire consistency, or leaving some small chunks of bacon bits.


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Deep-Fried Banana Dumplings


Does this happens to you? Whenever I make dumplings, I always have some surplus dumpling wrappers. This dessert dumpling uses the balance wrappers from the Deep Fried Savory Dumplings which I made and had posted yesterday. So, I'd like to throw this question out there, what do you do with these surplus wrappers? Feel free to also share your thoughts with all the readers here. Thanks.

In any case, let's get back to this recipe. These are Deep-Fried Banana Dumplings, topped with confectioner's sugar, chocolate sauce, and served with chocolate Gelato. I'll admit this is pretty similar to the one served in a Japanese restaurant which I frequent here in Vancouver. You will enjoy the sweetness and the fragrance of the baby bananas. The fried dumpling wrapper is just superb as well. It has the right crunchiness, a milder taste, and not too hard as compared to Wonton wrapper. As for the bananas, it's advisable to use the baby bananas variety because it's sweeter and it has a crunchier texture. Try it!


Deep-Fried Banana Dumplings

Ingredients

18-20 Circular Flour-And-Water Dumpling Wrappers

Filling


5 Ripe Baby Bananas, lightly mashed
A Squeezed of Lime Juice

Confectioners' Sugar
Chocolate Sauce

Method




Combine the mashed banana and lime juice in a medium bowl, and mix well.

Place a dumpling wrapper flat on your hand, and add 1 ½ tsp of banana filling. Brush or wet the edge of the wrapper with water. Fold one side of the skin over the filling, and seal the dumpling with a series of little pinches if you wish. Make sure you pinch the skins together tightly so the filling can't ooze out.



Deep-fry the dumplings over medium heat for about 2 ½ to 3 minutes or until they are light golden brown in color. Drain on a paper towel, topped with confectioners’ sugar, drizzle some chocolate sauce, and serve with chocolate Gelato, if desired.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Deep-Fried Savory Dumplings


Deep-Fried Savory Dumplings

Ingredients

50-60 Circular Flour-And-Water Dumpling Wrappers

Filling

360-380 g Ground Pork
250 g Peeled White Prawns, finely diced
6 Water Chestnuts, peeled and diced
2 Stalks Scallions, finely sliced
3 Tbsp Soy Sauce
2 tsp Sesame Oil
1 Tbsp Oyster Sauce
1 Tbsp Sugar
3/4 tsp Sea Salt
1 tsp Freshly Ground White Pepper
1 Tbsp Corn Flour/Starch


Siracha Sauce for dipping

Method


Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, mix well, and refrigerate for about 2 hours.

Place a dumpling wrapper flat on your hand, and add a good tablespoon of filling. Brush or wet the edge of the wrapper with water. Fold one side of the skin over the meat, and then press it tightly to meet the other side and make a half-moon-shaped dumpling. Make sure you pinch the skins together tightly so the filling can't ooze out.

Deep-fry the dumplings over medium heat for about 2 ½ to 3 minutes or until they are golden brown in color. Drain on a paper towel and serve with Siracha sauce.



Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Bloomin' Onion Rolls


This Bloomin' Onion Bread recipe is from The Girl Who Ate Everything. The sourdough bread is filled with Monterey Jack cheese, melted butter and chopped scallions. I used sourdough rolls for individual servings. These crusty rolls are buttery with gooey cheese melts. They are perfect for after school snacks.


Bloomin' Onion Rolls

Ingredients

4 Sourdough Rolls
8 to 10 Slices Monterey Jack Cheese, sliced into ½ inch pieces
4 Tbsp Melted Butter
3 Stalks Scallions, chopped

Baking Sheet
Aluminum Foil

Method

Preheat the oven to 350˚F.

Cut the bread lengthwise and widthwise-without cutting through the bottom crust.

Place the roll on aluminum foil. Insert cheese between the cuts.

Combine melted butter with chopped scallions. Then drizzle over the rolls, and wrap with foil. Place the wrapped rolls on a baking sheet.

Bake the rolls for 15 minutes. Then unwrap the foil, and bake for another 8 to 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Serve warm.

Serves 4

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Potato Omelette With Caramelized Onion~Tortilla


This is Potato Omelette With Caramelized Onion, a simple dish which you can enjoy as a snack or as a light lunch. The eggs are cooked just enough to hold the whole dish together and it's delicious.


Potato Omelette With Caramelized Onion~Tortilla

Ingredients


6 (about 610 g) Medium Yellow Potatoes, peeled and diced
1 Large Yellow Onion, peeled and sliced

4 to 5 Tbsp Olive Oil

6 Large Eggs
2-3 Tbsp Finely Chopped Fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley

Sea Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper




Method


Place the potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with cold water, a little salt, and bring it to a boil. Let it boil for about 6 minutes, then drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat a cast iron or non-stick pan over medium high. Sauté the onion with some olive oil, salt, and pepper until caramelized. Remove and set aside.

Beat the eggs with salt and pepper.

Add the oil, cooked potatoes and parsley in the pan, and give it a quick stir. Then pour in the beaten eggs and scattered the caramelized onion. Cover the pan with a lid, and cook the tortilla on a low-medium heat for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the eggs are just set. Slide the tortilla on a serving plate or serve directly from the pan.

Serves 4

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Strawberry And Blueberry Granita


Strawberry And Blueberry Granita

Ingredients

Strawberry
1 lb (454g) Strawberries, hulled
1 Cup (250ml) Water

3-5 Tbsp Sugar, or to taste

1 tsp Lime Juice



Blueberry
1 Box (500g) Blueberries
1 Cup (250ml) Water
2 to 3 Tbsp Honey, or to taste
1 tsp Lime Juice

Method



Blend strawberries, water, sugar and lime juice until completely smooth.

To freeze granita, pour the mixture into the dish and place in the freezer. Begin checking it after about 1 hour. Once it begins to freeze around the edges, take a fork and stir the mixture, breaking up the frozen parts near the edges into smaller chunks and raking them toward the center.

Return the dish to the freezer, and then check the mixture every 30 minutes afterward, stirring each time and breaking up any large chunks into small pieces with a fork, until you have beautiful, fine crystals of homemade granita. If any time the granita freezes too hard, simply leave it out at room temperature for a few minutes until it softens enough to be stirred again with a fork, and rake it back into crystals. Then return it to the freezer.


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Vegan Peanut Butter And Chocolate Pudding


This is my cheat dessert, a very delightful Vegan Peanut Butter and Chocolate Pudding. The secret ingredient for this creamy and luscious dessert is ripe organic Cavendish bananas. The sweet banana are sliced and frozen for about two hours. Then just whizz-it up with creamy peanut butter and cocoa powder. That’s all to it, you can even freeze the pudding for an hour and enjoy it like ice-cream. Yum!


Vegan Peanut Butter And Chocolate Pudding

Ingredients

3 Cavendish Bananas (ripe), peeled and sliced (about ¾ inch chunks)

6 Tbsp Creamy Peanut Butter
4 Tbsp Cocoa Powder


Equipment: Food Processor


Method



Place the banana chunks on a large plate lined with parchment paper. Place in the freezer for about two hour.



In a food processor, combine frozen bananas, peanut butter, and cocoa powder, and process until thick and smooth. Serve immediately.

Serves 2 to 4

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Baked Chocolate Cake Doughnuts


Recipe adapted from Lara Ferroni

Baked Chocolate Cake Doughnuts

Ingredients

130 g (About 1 cup) All Purpose Flour

2 Tbsp Natural Cocoa Powder

1 tsp Baking Powder

¼ tsp Baking Soda

75 g Sugar

½ tsp Freshly Ground Nutmeg

½ tsp Sea Salt

2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter 

¼ Cup Buttermilk

¼ Cup Yogurt

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

1 Large Egg

Method

Lightly grease a doughnut (or muffin) tin and preheat the oven to 350˚F.

Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda, and then whisk in the sugar, nutmeg and salt.

Add the butter, and using your fingers, rub it into the dry ingredients until it becomes coarse crumbs.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, yogurt, vanilla and egg. Add to the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Do not overmix, or your doughnuts may be a bit rubbery.

Fill each cup 1/2 to 3/4 full with a piping bag. It’s important not to overfill, or as the doughnuts rise, you’ll lose the hole.

Bake for 6 to 10 minutes (depending on the size of your doughnut pan), until the doughnuts spring back when touched. Let cool slightly on a wire rack before glazing. If coating in powdered sugar, let them cool even a bit more.

Makes about 15 mini doughnuts.

Chocolate Glaze/Dip (Recipe adapted from Baked Explorations)
4 oz Good Quality Dark Chocolate, coarsely chopped
½ Cup Heavy Cream
2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
Sprinkles to decorate

Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the cream until it is just about to boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate and wait 1 minute. Whisk until smooth. Whisk in the butter. Keep mixture warm.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Braised Pork Belly With Soy Sauce


This is my version of the Braised Pork Belly With Soy Sauce. This popular Chinese styled braised pork belly recipe is very delicious and addictive. Serve it up with lots of steamed rice and enjoy the tasty slow cooked meat that just melts in your mouth! I would also recommend adding a simple stir-fry vegetable to balance out this meal. So, do give this recipe a try and enjoy!


Braised Pork Belly With Soy Sauce

Ingredients

2 lbs (about 900 g) Pork Belly, cut into ¾ inch chunks
6 to 7 Tbsp Malaysian Dark Soy Sauce (Caramel-Cheong Chan Brand) or Kicap Manis (omit sugar)
2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp Oyster Sauce
1 Tbsp Sugar
2 Tbsp Peanut Oil
1 inch piece Galangal, sliced
1 inch piece Ginger, sliced
2 Bulbs Garlic, whole
3 (750 ml) Cups of Water
8 Hard-boiled Eggs, peeled
1 ½ tsp Sea Salt or to taste

Method

Preheat oven to 350˚F/180˚C.

In a large bowl, combine the meat with dark soy sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, and mix well.

Heat a large skillet or a casserole over high heat, add oil, and stir-fry the galangal and ginger until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add meat and fry for a few minutes until the meat is well coated with the sauce. Then add garlic, water and bring the mixture to a boil. Add hard-boiled eggs and remove the skillet or casserole from the heat.


Cover the casserole with a piece of parchment paper and then cover with the lid. Cook in the preheated oven for about 1 hour, give the mixture a good stir, and continue to cook for another hour, and season with sea salt if necessary. Skim off excess oil and serve warm with steamed rice.

Stovetop method: Cover the casserole with the lid and simmer for about 1 ½ to 2 hours.

Slow-cooker method: Set the setting on high for about 4 to 6 hours.

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